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April 09, 1993 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-04-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

tones

A seder for interfaith families
attracts appreciative group to Emanu-El.


140*§100—

RUTH L1TTMANN STAFF WRITER

Participants
prepare haroset.

111

by was this seder differ-
ent from all other seders?
The answer: It was
sponsored by Stepping
Stones.
Stepping Stones is a
two-year, Sunday school
program for children of
interfaith families that
are unaffiliated with a
temple or synagogue.
The program, held at
Temple Emanu-El, is
sponsored by local Reform
and Conservative rabbis.
It is funded by a $29,000
grant from the Jewish
Federation of Metropoli-
tan Detroit.
Stepping Stones activi-

ties, including last week's
seder, aim to educate chil-
dren of mixed marriages
about Judaism without
pressuring them to accept
one religion over another.
Coming up on its first
birthday, the program

Explaining
Judaism to
intermarried
families.

has been very successful,
said Director Rita Abram-
son. Of 27 families partic-
ipating, four have ex-

pressed interest in joining
a temple or synagogue.
She hopes more will
decide to affiliate during
the program's second
year.
Farmington Hills resi-
dent Vicki Palmer was
raised Jewish and mar-
ried a Catholic man.
Though she is not sure
she wants to join a tem-
ple, she enrolled her two
children — Jaclyn, 6, and
Michael, 10 — in Step-
ping Stones because she
believes they should get a
Jewish education.
"Stepping Stones teach-
ers do not say, 'Believe
this or believe that,' " said
Mrs. Palmer, as she
watched her children pre-
pare haroset for the
seder.
The Rubins, also of
Farmington Hills, agree.
Richard Rubin grew up a
Conservative Jew in
Southfield. His wife,
though not religious, con-
siders herself Christian.
They want their 6-year-
old son, Joshua, to learn
abo,ut his Jewish her-
itage.
"It's nice to be part of a
program that recognizes
that you can have diversi-
ty in one family and
include that whole fami-

ly," he said.
At the seder, Justin j
Segal, 7, looks for his
father's OK before dip- /
ping his finger into his
glass of grape juice. He
drops "blood" on his
seder plate to remember \
the plagues on Egypt.
"My wife and I have
been trying to decide how
to direct Justin's religious
education," said Mr.
Segal, who was raised
Jewish but doesn't like
organized religion.
His wife is not Jewish,
but the family decided to
raise Justin as a Jew.
Although Justin went to
nursery schools at Con- '\
gregations Shaarey Zedek
and Adat Shalom, he had
no formal Jewish educa-
tion in the three years
prior to attending Step-
ping Stones.
"When he was going to
religious school, he
would've said, 'My mom's
Christian and my dad and
I are Jewish,' " Mr. Segal
said.
Without continued ex- <
posure to Judaism, how-
ever, Justin began saying
that he was both.
"Somewhere along the
line, he dropped that
Jewish identity," said Mr.
Segal. ❑

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